a food geek's dream day

yesterday was a day worth recapping in detail. it was by far, the most food-geeky day i have ever had. which is a rather impressive statement. it began with a light hang over, cured by the wonderfulness that is created at the honore bakery in ballard. after standing in their usual line of people out the door on a weekend morning, i sat in their little courtyard out back (my best kept secret that i totally just gave away!) and drank a creamy soy latte and munched on their spicy cherry bomb quiche and a salted caramel coconut macaroom while reading a gastronomica article on feminism and blogging. if you have not been to this bakery. go. right now. actually, they have limited hours, so make sure you go when they are open! and buy a croissant.

after breakfast, i went next door to the pantry at delancy, which i've mentioned before, for a six-hour food photography workshop. walking into the pantry, i felt a sense of nervous energy like it was the first day of school. i was brimming with excitement and unknown expectations. the class was taught my the wonderful duo behind the blog 'not without salt' ... gabe and ashley rodriguez. i've never had any formal photography training. i've been poorly self taught, fumbling with lighting and aperture and not knowing what i was doing, only what i was going for. so for the first time ever, someone explained to me the workings of a camera. we talked about lighting. composition. staging. editing. it was fabulous and so much fun to work alongside a bunch of other foodies with cameras. i am incredibly proud of the photos that i shot. before i depended heavily on editing, these photos are original shots. no editing what so every. just an image created by a camera. magic.

but wait there is more. my food geek day continued on... i tagged along with ashley and gabe who were headed over to book larder, seattle's only cookbook store, to visit their friends and my idols: sara and hugh forte of sprouted kitchen! they were in town doing a book signing for their new cookbook. which you should buy. i got to pick hugh's brain about his food photography style and chatted a bit with sara who shockingly had read my blog! major ego boost of the day. yes.

i love days that inspire me. so energizing and refreshing. they keep me motivated. redirect my energy and creativity. it's days like these that i live for.

as the poster on my fridge says: "my kitchen versus the rest of the world"

mustard, pickling, and deviling

photo credit of Bitterroot
i love the word deviling. it sounds dangerous. let me go back a few weeks to a brief restaurant review of bitterroot bbq in ballard. being mostly vegetarian, i am not one to usually go to a steak house or bbq pit. but bitterroot's woodsy and charming interior drew me in while walking through ballard one day. their menu features local meats, house-made sauces (mustards, bbq sauce, even the ketchup...), killer corn bread and other fun bar food and grilled goodies. i had a simple greens salad piled with a grilled peach filled with oozing blue cheese. i also enjoyed my first ever pickled egg. what?! it was firm, dyed pink from beet-pickling juice, and deviled. i love deviled eggs as you might remember. it was stunning and worthy of replicating to perfection. anyhow, it was a fun meal - bitterroot's power kept going out due to a heat wave in seattle, and the music and lights would randomly shut off and on followed by drunken cheers from the bar when the music picked back up. hilarity. 

these recipes are simple. just a bit time consuming. but oh so worth the efforts. 

beet pickled eggs:
1 beet, peeled and cut into quartered 1/4" slices
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 one-week old eggs (older eggs peel easier! fresh eggs are a pain in the ass...) 

bring prepared beets to simmer in one cup of water in a small sauce pan. simmer for 20-40 minutes (depending on size of beets) until fork-able or your to the texture you prefer. remove beets from sauce pan and place in a large mason jar. adding vinegar, sugar and salt to beet juice and simmer until disolved then remove from heat and let cool. in the mean time, in a different pot, place 6 eggs under a few inches of water. bring to a gentle simmer and then remove the pot immediately from the heat. cover with lid and let sit for 10 minutes. when finished, poor off the water and fill the pot with cold water and ice to chill the eggs. once cool, gently peel the eggs and place in the jar with the beets. cover with pickling juice and set in the fridge for 2 days. the color will start to set in after about one day. they look most impressive after 2 days of pickling. after 4 days the yokes will start to turn pink too, which takes away the beautiful contrast in colors. 

to devil your eggs:
cut in half, remove yolks and place yolks in a small bowl. add a spoonful of greek yogurt or mayo. a spoonful of grainy mustard. vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. add shredded carrots to the mix if you like to add some crunch and texture. 
spoon the yolk mixture back into the eggs and top with a sliver of the pickled beets from your jar! delicious. 

to make home made mustard: 
6 tablespoons yellow or brown mustard seeds (or a mix)
3 tablespoons yellow mustard powder
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup white wine or water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons honey (optional)

combine well and place into a mason jar. let sit for at least 24 hours, stir at least once. this mustard is pretty intense, but i love it. add herbs or onion if you like, or more honey too 'cool' down the flavors.